Sunday, June 02, 2013

Email from a gay guy who's about to go to university

Last Friday night, the following email arrived in my inbox:

Dear GB,
I stumbled along your blog a couple months ago while being a typical gay youth looking for porn (I have a sort of 'fetish' for bankers) and I've been avidly browsing your posts, particularly your older posts relating your intriguing infidelity back in the days of BF 1/2/3, ever since.

I really enjoy reading them and though I've read a lot of the Dear GB posts and seen the help you've given, I've never really considered emailing you as I guess I've never had much of a problem with being gay. That was until about 2 weeks ago when I received confirmation from one of the London universities that I'd been given an unconditional place to study there, which completely blew me away as I only chose to apply there, among other lesser colleges, under some farfetched idea that I'd ever be good enough to study there.

The most amazing thing about it of course, is that I'll be given the opportunity to live in London for the first time in my life, something that I've been dreaming of since the day I began to comprehend its existence.

I come from a rather bigoted city in the north of England with a lot of deprivation, racism and yes, homophobia and I've never really felt like I fit in here despite the fact that I have a rather diverse and interesting group of friends who I also, on reflection, am extremely lucky to have as they defy the stereotype of this area and are all completely ok with my sexuality; the girls actually revelled in it when I first came out. And even more surprisingly I've managed, over the past 6 months to actually coerce a boy, I guess the correct term is 'man', into going out with me.

We met when I started work after sixth-form to make some money for moving away to Uni, even though I hadn't received any actual offers at the time (from Uni, not from men). I instinctively knew he was gay from the offset just by the way he playfully smiled and behaved around me and he clearly reciprocated the inference as 2 months after I started work we're on a train to Edinburgh for a bank-holiday weekend away; both of us blowing about 1 months pay, over which time we develop a strong attachment to each other and having, he admits, more sex in a weekend than he'd had in the previous year (it wasn't mutual as I'd developed a healthy(?) addiction to Grindr over the past few years). Ever since, we've been inseparable; he's the only person I've ever been this comfortable around and shares the exact same interests as me and yes, he's the first person I've ever fell in love with. I'll not go any further into just how much I love him as I'm aware people in love just sound soppy to everyone else not in that particular relationship.

And now to my problem; after receiving the offer from London, my boyfriend has gone through a lot of stages coming to terms with the fact that I will, most definitely, be moving to London in September. At first, his initial reaction was one of happiness and possibly a level of pride for me as he knows just how much this means to me and really how prestigious the school is that I've been accepted to. However shortly after that, there grew a level of despondency between us as the fact that our current way of life would inevitably be upheaved drastically as I begin an important new period in my life and then came a third stage; an ultimatum. I won't, at all, criticise him for the decision he tried to force me in to, however infuriatingly selfish it may have seemed at the time, but he did essentially make me choose between him; a man I admittedly love more than my family (cruel/unjust?), and my place at Uni and essentially my future.

Now, despite all my love for him, I just couldn't even bear turning down this amazing offer at living in what I consider to be the greatest city on earth at possibly the greatest school for my course on earth so of course, I couldn't choose and told him so. This lead to a fourth stage where we just denied that anything was changing so we could at least continue being with each other and continue having a type of sex that we'd never experienced before; that type of sex where it hurts to leave each other's body and that even when we're not inside each other, every other waking minute is spent leading up to when you'll next 'become one' again. But of course beneath the skin, we were obviously both at a loss as to what we would do and it was tearing me up inside knowing the clear pain I was putting him through.

So being at a crossroads, I ultimately needed to make a choice and just so that I could make him happy again and just so I could see him sincerely smile at me another time while still pursuing my own interests, I proposed that he moved to London with me so that we could be together. He jumped at the idea. Everything seemed settled until I told a friend of the decision we'd made and he essentially made the very real point that no one should ever go to university while still in a relationship.

I've said how intriguing I found your earlier posts of free, guiltless sex with lots of men and of my previous, healthy(?), addiction to Grindr and I'm now entirely scared at the prospect of uprooting my boyfriend that I'm wholeheartedly infatuated with and dumping him in a huge intimidating city only to find in a few months' time that I fall out of love with him or he falls out of love with me and he's left with fairly mediocre job prospects and no financial support whatsoever.

I mean, I love him so much but I am only 20 and being in a hugely liberal city like London with a thriving gay scene at the advantageous age that I am and with a fairly attractive(?) face/body; am I not throwing away what could be the most exciting period of my life? But then on the other side, is the love that I feel for my boyfriend something beautiful and too great to throw away just for a few years of casual sex with strangers?

It's hard because when I used to see other people in love making stupid decisions, I'd judge them for their ignorance but now that I'm finally experiencing love, I find it hard to demonstrate a lack of insularity anymore; in that I find it hard to find a perspective on any decision I make as every decision is ultimately, relevant or not, made based on the love I feel for this brilliant human that I get to share my mind and body with, free of judgment.

I may have lost the origin of my question but if you can decipher one from that gargantuan email I congratulate you and would be truly grateful for a response, no matter how minor. If you don't have time, however, I understand and I think I may subconsciously already have an answer to a fairly vague and similarly subconscious question.


Until I read that email, I've never heard of the idea that "no one should ever go to university while still in a relationship". In fact, when I was at university, I was aware of a small number of my peers who had girlfriends back in their home towns. Some of those relationships didn't survive, but one or two of them did. And the guys that I know who ended up marrying the girlfriends that they had from before they went to university seem to be some of the happiest and most sorted individuals that I know. So I don't think that this idea that one should be single when one goes to university is valid for everyone.

In fact, it makes even less sense for this reader. It's easy to understand why it might be sensible for people who need to decide between ending their relationship, or continuing their relationship but leaving their boyfriend or girlfriend back in their home town while they go to university in a different town. However, this reader is going to be able to take his boyfriend with him, which is a completely different situation. After having read the reader's email, I certainly felt that it would have been a big shame if the relationship ended now. The email gives a strong impression of a deep love between the two guys.

Regarding some of the reader's concerns about moving to London with his boyfriend, the following thoughts occurred to me:
  • Both of them are adults, so I don't think the reader should worry about what might happen to his boyfriend if they split up. As long as his boyfriend is aware of the risks, then it's up to the boyfriend to make up his own mind.
  • There are indeed a lot of opportunities for gay guys to have fun (of all sorts!) in London, but that applies just as much to the reader's boyfriend as it does to the reader himself.
So if the reader really does love his boyfriend, then he's in a wonderful situation. People who aren't in a relationship can waste a lot of time looking for sex and looking for relationships, but since the reader has got those things sorted, he'll be able to get the most out of his course and all the other things that London has to offer. After all, it sounds like he's already had lots of gay sex with other guys, and in fact if one lives in a big modern city like London, then that possibility always exists however old you are. In any case, it's also true that
  • The two of them could always agree on some kind of open relationship, if they decide that they want to experiment.
On that point, I think that it'll be vital for them to discuss the monogamy issue, and to keep discussing it. My final thoughts about all this are
  • Good communication between the people involved is vital in any relationship, but in the early days when they're finding their way around their new lives in London, it'll be especially important. However, as long as they keep good communication going regarding everything that might affect their relationship, and regarding the monogamy point in particular, then I think they've got every chance of making a success of it.
  • Finally, if the reader is having second thoughts about taking his boyfriend to London, then in spite of the undying love that his email expresses, perhaps sub-consciously he doesn't really love his boyfriend as much as he says he does!

Anyway, do any other readers have any thoughts on this situation?


TwoLives said...

GB - As usual, you make very good points, which the guy should carefully consider.

One thing I wonder is whether the guy genuinely wants his bf to come to London with him. It seems to me, if he was so inclined, he'd be thinking optimistically and the two of them would work together to make a plan that would work, using many of your suggestions. Instead, he said no the ultimatum and now he's having serious doubts if the bf moves with him. I don't think the guy is in the right state of mind to for this to work. The minute any time of conflict develops (which will be inevitable), the guy will be very resentful that he allowed his bf to move with him because that's not what he really wanted in the first place.

No matter what happens, it might be best for the bf to move to London anyway. How can he go wrong in such a great city? But as you said, clear communication and keeping their options open are essential.

Kenski said...

Ah, young love... and particularly young "first love" coupled with amazing sex, natures glue that sticks people together (sometimes literally!)

All GBs points are good ones and I'd definitely say it's the right decision to take the opportunity to move to London to study and experience a more rounded gay culture... I now have "Smalltown Boy" on a loop in my head!

I don't think it's unreasonable to suggest that most first loves don't go the distance. They're so intense and all wrapped up in each person actually forming an adult sexual identity that they're almost bound to fail. That's NOT to say all of them do. I think it's often situational... but that may be an issue here. London's a wonderful place with a lot of variety and opportunity. At every turn there's likely to be temptation. You have to be realistic with yourself as to how you want to balance that temptation with your current relationship, if, in fact, you do.

The fact that you're already considering infidelity (or at least curious about it) and that you're a self-confessed Grindr addict (which isn't uncommon!) might suggest that you're open to widening your sexual horizons beyond your current relationship. I would say that, if possible, honest communication is a better option than running around. Honesty can hurt but finding out about betrayal hurts much more and leaves a deeper wound.

Right, if it were me, I'd just say to be true to yourself and make decisions based on what you want and need as a person. If you guys are truly soulmates then your boyfriend will run in parallel with you, if not, well...

In most relationships, a degree of compromise is inevitable. Having said that, if you compromise to the point that you resent being in a relationship then that's a problem for both of you which can turn love into disappointment and hate.

Mind Of Mine said...

To the writer of this email, I implore you to think of the bigger picture here.

You love him, no one can argue with that. But do you believe this relationship is 'the one'. Do you really see yourself being together forever.

If he moved to London to live with you, whilst you are on this incredible journey, the chances of him not liking it and resenting you for 'making' him go there are high.

What you don't want to happen, is in a couple of years, when you probably won't be together anymore, looking back and regretting that you did not make the most of the opportunity to explore your horizons in a new city, meeting new lovers and fully throwing yourself into the London experience.

Anonymous said...

I advise against going down the 'open relationship' route, it can be disastrous, esp if he really likes the man. - He runs the risk of introducing feelings of jealousy, paranoia and insecurity into what was once a good and solid relationship, particularly when the one night stands start adding up without a second thought. Then there is the difficulty in the eventual 'closing' of the relationship and trying to go back to the way things were before, an almost impossible task.
Maybe he should keep the relationship going and just let things happen / work themselves out. - If the relationship works, it works, if it doesn't, it doesn't. - Then if it doesn't work he'll know it's because of differences between them, not because of the numerous other people involved in an open relationship.

Anonymous said...

Big picture. "Uni guy" is sorted and has choices. Lucky man. You are asking good questions. You'll be OK.

Anonymous said...

I'd love to hear an update of how things turned out. Did he move to London with his bf?